Cricketing Skills are nothing else but the skills you require to play Cricket, These Cricketing skills can be categorized as (Batting, Bowling, Fielding and Wicket keeping). In this article we will learn about Batting which is the most important cricketing skill. We will cover all kinds of cricketing shots like vertical bat strokes and Horizontal bat strokes. We will discus every shot in detail and also look at the important key points, techniques and drills. So let’s get started.
Before talking about any Cricketing Shots we will talk about Batting set up, which is (Grip, Stance and Backlift)
Grip – No batsman will have the same exact grip. Everyone has their own style. The grip is nothing else but the way you hold the bat, the main aim here is to bring the bat vertically straight and to present the full face of the bat to upcoming ball.
Key Points –
1) Both Hand together the middle of the handle — If both hands are not together your bottom hand will dominate causing your bat to come down at an angle/across if your bottom hand dominates you might play ball in the air more often. You might also be not able to present the full face of the bat to the upcoming ball. And you should hold the bat at the middle of the handle for equal power and control (50 -50). If you hold the bat close to shoulder you will have (control – not hitting the ball in the air) but less power in shots. Similarly, if you hold the bat at top of the handle more power but less control.
2) Top hand guides and control bottom hand provides power —- As your front shoulder is close to the bowler and as it is said that while initiating backlift you’re your top hand should be naturally cocked and as a result when we play defensive shots, because of the cocked wrist our bat position is slant at the point of contact because our bat’s bottom stays behind the top hand and hence it is said that our top hand guides and control. And bottom hand provides power because as natural that hand is our dominating hand.
3) Top hand V between the splice and outer/leading edge –
4) Bottom hand V on or off the splice – V’s are just the indicator’s the main aim here is only one thing your bat should come straight.
STANCE – The position of your body Or the way you stand before the ball is released is your stance. The key point to remember here is that your stance should be something that enables/helps you to move quickly on your feet and enables you to come in the correct position to play the ball on merit.
Key points –
1) Feet approx shoulder width apart — Because this is the most balanced, relax and stable position (Vishram position) This stance provides you with both stability and mobility equally. If your stance is too wide you will have stability but your mobility will hamper. in a wide stance, your backfoot play/movement also hampers, you will have to transfer your weight on front foot first and then on the back foot, this way you will lose time to play the ball. Similarly, if my stance is too small my mobility will increase but stability will not be there.
2) Weight on the balls of feet of both the feet’s evenly distributed —- If your bodyweight is on your heal or full feet than you will not be able to move as quickly as possible. And when my weight is on my balls of feet my mobility increases.
3) Knees flexed —- Try walking or running without your knees flexed you cannot do that thing quickly. Knees flexed because it helps in a quick movement.
4) Shoulder facing towards bowler or slightly open —- Batting is a side on the game, It helps to bring your bat vertically straight. If your shoulder is not facing the bowler than your bat might come down at a different angle or across. And slightly open for two-eyed stance. You can also drop your shoulder a little so that you can negate the blind spot on your leg side.
5) Head steady eyes level – eyes level (2 eyed stances) —- If your head is not steady your eyes will not be level and your eyes act like a camera. It takes the picture of the moving ball, it is transferred to your brain, your brain process the information and then you play the shot. If your eyes are not level (Camera tilts or shakes) wrong information will be transferred to the brain and then you know what will happen.
BACKLIFT – Backlift is a very important part of batting setup because it sets your body in motion, It initiates your body leavers. Backlift also helps in providing power in your shots. It is one of the most important Cricketing Skills.
Key points —
1) Initiate backlift with your top hand — If not Bottom hand might dominate and while playing shots ball might go in the air. Downswing of the bat may come from an angle (across) as a result edges.
2) Top hand wrist should be naturally cocked — help’s to keep the ball in control because when we play defensive shots our bat position will be slanted because the bottom of the bat will be behind your top hand.
3) arms close to the body —- If not your head will fall on the off side and it will be difficult for you to play shots on the leg side. Downswing of the bat may come down at an angle (across). If arms away from the body bat also might not come from it’s desired a position that is between the off stump and 2’nd slip.
4) Bottom hand’s thumb and index finger should support the handle of the bat —- Because if all fingered grip (used for playing horizontal bat strokes ) This grip (All fingered) is not used for playing vertical bat strokes because your movement hampers.
· FRONT FOOT SHOTS —
1) FRONT FOOT DEFENCE
Front Foot Defense —– Front Foot Defense is one of the most important shots in Cricket and very important cricketing skills Because if your Front foot defense is strong then you can play front foot drives easily. Because all the front foot drives are just an extension of your front foot defense. We play Front foot defense shots to generally balls pitching around the good length and to balls which we cannot hit shots. Very important shot in 4-day matches. (Defense is a protective mechanism either to protect body or stumps) It is the most Important Batting Techniques.
KEY POINTS —–
1) Lead with your head and front shoulder —– We should lead with our head because Our head is the heaviest part of the body wherever your head goes your body (legs) will follow and as a result if you will take your head close to the ball (try and smell the ball) you will not play away from your body. And leading with the front shoulder is important because if not your bat will come across and a full face of the bat will not be presented.
2) Front foot as close to the pitch of the ball — This is important because you have to play the ball as close to your body. This is also important to negate or minimize any Latrell movement (Seam, Swing)
3) Batwing (Downswing) as close to front pad – If not you will play away from your body, as a result, of no control on the ball and you will play in the air. There will also be a huge gap between bat and pad and the ball might sneak through.
4) Impact under the eyes heads —- While playing front foot defense shots your bodyweight should be on top of the ball for compact defense. Otherwise, you might be playing away from your body.
5) Keep your bottom hand relax —- We all are taught about defending the ball with a soft hand and we are able to defend with soft hands when our bottom hand is loose as a result when we edge the ball it may not carry to the slip fielder.
6) Try and maintain the figure of 9 —- Figure of 9 (Front arm wrist, elbow, and shoulder and back arm wrist, elbow and shoulder and your bat (tail)) these all should be in one plane. If not your body might open then edges to slip will be a problem.
2) FRONT FOOT DRIVE
Front Foot Drive (FFD) —- These are just the extensions of your front foot defense shots. If you want to be a good Batsmen than you must play this shot with perfection.
KEY POINTS —
1) High Backlift because this is an attacking stroke —- there are two kinds of backlift one in which your hands go away from your body which is not advisable. And 2nd is shoulder dip backlift which allows keeping our hands close to our body. Here we dip our front shoulder and our bat comes down with a whipping effect, as a result, we get power in the shots.
2) Weight on the front foot—- You can not hit front foot drives with your weight on backfoot you will hit the ball in the air if you do so.
3) The face of the bat in direction of the stroke for as long as possible —– If you time the ball pretty well then you will end up in this kind of position. If not you might hit the ball in the air. Your face of the bat will face the sky.
4) Follow through — Follow through is important in any kind of attacking shots because it’s not advisable to break the momentum of your bat while playing attacking shots.
3) MOVING OUT TO DRIVE
Moving out to Drive – –(Main Aim to make the ball half volley) This Shot is generally played to spin bowlers when the ball is flighted (Above eye level). This shot is somewhat risky because you can miss the ball and get out stumped. There are 3 rules you must keep in mind before playing this shot.
One – Do whatever you want don’t let the ball pass your bat. Don’t let the ball go to the wicketkeeper.
Two – Step out from the crease when the ball is released from the hands of the bowlers or at the point of no return.
Three – Your intent matters while playing this shot, not commitment, You should not commit yourself of playing big shots while moving out to drive.
Key Points —-
1) Maintain side on Position — If not your body will open as a result bat will come across not (Vertically straight), edges may become a problem here.
2) Unweight front foot for moving quickly towards the ball — If your weight remains on front foot you cannot move quickly towards the ball you will become imbalanced and lose your shape.
3) First step bigger than the subsequent one — (To reach to the pitch of the Ball) If your first step is bigger than you can automatically adjust your 2’nd step in order to reach close to the ball and play the ball on merit without losing your shape.
4) Back foot toe comes behind front foot heal —– This is the right way of moving forward otherwise you will become imbalanced.
5) Play the shot as if you are playing Front Foot Drive — Intent over Commitment.
4) BACK FOOT DEFENSE
Back Foot Defense – As a Front Foot Defense Back foot Defense is also a very important Cricketing Skills We play this shot to all kinds of bowler’s (Spinners, Medium pacers or Fast Bowlers) We play this shot to a rising ball and which is within the line of the stumps. If the ball pitches outside off stump we should go for Back foot drive and cut shot respectively.
Key Points –
1) Back foot back and across to off stump —- Here you can say that off stump act’s like a limit, You have to move your back foot back and across to off stump but it should be within the line of the ball.
2) Front foot back and in line with the body —- Here we should remember one thing that when we move our front foot back in line with the body our front foot weight should be on the front foot toe because it helps us to keep our body weight on top of the ball.
3) Front elbow high at the point of contact —- Doing this will enable us to play the ball as close to our body. If not we might be playing away from the body and the ball might log in the air.
4) Top hand firm — This is to absorb the impact of the ball, and to guide and control the ball.
5) Bottom hand relaxes — This is important because we have to play the ball with soft hands and it helps us because if we edge the ball it will not carry to the slip fielders.
5) BACK FOOT DRIVE
BACK FOOT DRIVE – This shot is played to a rising ball generally outside off stump (Difficult Shot to Control because of a small base of support ). It helps you to score runs between mid and cover region to a short of a good length ball. To play backfoot drive to leg side requires more skill so for young batters playing backfoot drive to leg side is not advisable. You will need balance and quick feet movement to play this shot correctly. But unlike cut and pull shot Back foot drive relies on timing and placements rather than power. (Head in Line with the Ball, you will not play away from your body)
Key Points —-
1) Stabilize your back foot —- If you want to play back foot drive with power, stability is the key. If you are stable you can generate power, if you are not you cannot. While playing back foot drive our base of contact with the ground is the small and small base of contact means less stability. Hence we have to make sure that we are stable while playing back foot drive.
2) Head steady — This is also crucial because, when we stabilize our self and generate power while playing this shot as a result of the power that we generate makes our head unstable while playing the shot, Hence we have to keep our head steady while playing this shot.
3) Keep arm’s close to the body —- This is important because it helps us in keeping our head in line with the ball which allows us to play the stroke close to our body, if not we might be playing away from the body then (Ball in the air, edges) many problems may occur. (Here head should be in / close to the line of the ball because it allows us to see the movement of the ball closely) (Balls movement – swing, seam, etc.)
4) Front elbow high at the point of contact — This helps us in generating power through the shots and it act’s like a follow through. Also helps in playing the ball close to the body.
5) Full Sing of the Bat — To generate more power in the shots and to complete the full follow through of the bat and not break the momentum of the Back Foot Drive.
6) CUT SHOT
Cut Shot – This shot is played to both spinners as well as fast bowlers. To fast, bowlers, this shot is played to a rising delivery pitching wide outside off stump. This might be a risky shot if not played properly and because less area of the bat to present. This shot should be played because the bowler has bowled the bad (Short and Wide ball) and you must punish him.
Don’t play to incoming balls. Area of scoring between covers to gully. Played to the ball between waist and below the chest. The perfect cut shot will land within 15 yards from you. Can be termed as slapping shot. This is the only shot in which head is not in the line with the ball.
Key points —
1) Back foot across to off stump – If the bowler is balling really quick then you must go back and across.
2) Extend arms — Slapping principal, we should extend our arm (Suddenly) at the point of contact. Shoulder to Shoulder rotation of the arms is crucial for max power and follow through. You should also not rotate your wrist while playing this shot because there is less area of the bat to present hence it is risky. Your bat should also come from a higher trajectory while playing this shot (Not much high) The toe of the bat should not face the sky prior to playing this shot. (Don’t rotate shoulder but only after contact, Arms close to front shoulder after the shot is played..)
3) Contact the ball in front of the eye — This is not 100% true. This factor will depend on the speed of the baler and your movement. If you move back and across than this statement may not be true, and if you move across to off stump you may hit the ball in front of the eyes. (your bat should come in the same trajectory/path of the ball for assured contact and toe of the bat to be faced to where the ball pitches.)
4) weight should be on backfoot —- Helps in keeping your head close to the ball.
5) Bat to descend from a higher position.
7) Pull Shot
Timing is very important in this shot, We should also play this shot after 10 – 15 minutes after we have spend time on the wicket because we are not knowing the pace and bounce of the wicket.
Key points –
- Back foot back and across to off stump or within the line of the ball.
- Head Steady and try and bring your head in line with the ball.
- Extended Arms.
- Rotate Shoulders – as this helps us to rotate our full body
- Rotate wrist – Ball has gained height and we have to make sure that ball is under our control and to not to hit in the air.
- Bat should come in the same trajectory/ path as the ball.
8) Sweep Shot
Genrally played to spinners who bring the ball in (righty batsman – off spinner, Lefty Batsman – Left arm spinner or Leg spinners). Vice Versa might be risky. and for minimum damage play this shot to ball pitching on leg stump and spinning down the leg stump. Do not try to hit the ball hard.
Key Points –
- Front foot in line with the ball.
- weight transfers on Front foot and both knees will be bent.
- Try and hit the ball as close to the ground.
- Rotate your wrist while playing this shot to keep the ball under control.
- Weight should always be on front foot.